Saturday, December 3, 2011

Little Inspirations Make Me Happy

This time of year in Blogdom is rather *magical don't you find? So many little inspirations pop out at me wherever I visit. You're such a creative one, you are!

Let's see, what have I for you today... Two little inspirations and  some tossed in things for good measure.

I found this little silver frame for a song at JoAnn's and have until last night had a small picture of a Christmas tree made of birds in it. This is so much better for its wonderful message.  I found it at Kim's Seasons of My Heart. (Edited to Add: I believe that I have tracked it down to its original source at Betty Crocker Wannabe. Thanks to all who were keeping me straight! Yes, it is available free. Thanks to Kristin who now blogs at A Simply Klassic Home.)

Can you tell that I really like my new kitchen window?

Whatever would give it away?

Actually, these photos were taken to make Auntie happy. Auntie who enjoys seeing photos taken at night in bad light and that's all right. As soon as there is snow flying, I'm going to take another photo just like my header photo only in Christmas mode. It may be awhile.

This is an idea I saw at Anne's blog Azza's Blather right there in her Christmas header.

See it? It's a little train coming through a book tunnel. I don't know about you, but I find it adorable. Perhaps it's having a grandson visiting this afternoon that is making me think of the whimsy that would delight a little boy. You just know that this arrangement is not going to stay this pristine.

And, right on cue, just as I suspected, Fioré hopped up there and messed it all up. By the time I returned from writing this post and to shut off the lights, this is what I found. The book slapped shut, the train on the floor, and Fioré enjoying her ease. She does love the tree.

I am undaunted. Stay tuned for the answer at the end of this post.

This next one cracks me up. Remember my mitten garland of a few days ago? Look what I found! A sweet mitten garland divider with red I can do the same. Here's my garland reworked a bit.

Oops. Guess you'll have to trust me on this ribbons on either end and in the middle. Looks darling. No, really. I'm adding candy canes to the mittens next.

I just did that so I could use the mitten divider again. Such a child I am. That's what you get for playing with trains and children's books. Here we go again with a new interpretation for train and tunnel elsewhere.

Have a magical weekend! Have you been playing yet today? Hope so!

Love Vee
*magical always means Narnia magic here. Thanks, Brenda!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Wreath Reworked and More

There's a scene in Little Women, the 1994 version with Winona Ryder, where a Christmas wreath wearing a flannel bow is hung upon the door. I've looked for that scene high and low and short of putting the dvd in and taking a photo of the tv, I can't find it. Oh well. Here's my Christmas wreath reworked.

The ribbon was made from my flannel nighty. A worthy end for the nighty that gave me so much comfort.

Here's how the wreath came to me and how it looks now.

Before and After

Thought I'd toss in some of my "progress" beginning with a photo of John making his own lunch while I played. He's a good boy! Very good and dear. I'll have to make it up to him with a decent supper.

Click *here* to find out what he's eating and what the Haven looked like when John was working inside instead of outside.

Wreaths on Patio Doors

Cranberry Wreath for China Cabinet Door

Stars and Platters

Peace Out!

Love Vee

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Keeping Christmas

Welcoming December first is always exciting. Sometimes good exciting and sometimes not so good exciting. This is the month when I, like so many of you, am at my busiest. My preference is that it will be exciting for all the right reasons: The Reason. To think that Jesus was willing to come to us is a profound thought.

John sometimes describes the bosses he's known on big construction jobs. One of them was a bossy boss the kind who knows what he's doing and bellows orders from his office chair. Another was a get-down-in-the-dirt with him sort of boss. He also knows what he's doing, yet when he sees that his crew needs help, he tackles the job right along with them leading the way. Jesus is that kind of a "boss." He knew that we were never going to make it on our own and He was willing to come to us and get down in the dirt with us and help us take on this task called life.

This year, for the first time, I welcome December without my mother's physical presence. It is going to be...wait for the euphemism...a challenge. Ohhhh I have my memories...she was the very best Keeper of Christmas. She loved the holidays and made her home a Christmas delight replete with all the aromas of the holiday — baking and fudge making and savory smells from her cozy kitchen. Her home smelled like a gift shoppe all cinnamony and warm. She honored the Lord and opened her home and shared her life and the more tangible aspects of it. I am still learning of all the things she did. (Until last week when I was asked to donate pies to the library bake sale, I had no idea that my mother baked three or more pies to donate each year on the day before Thanksgiving! My response? No, thanks, no time for that!)

The mantle has fallen on me. Oh dear! There has been a fair amount of fretting on my part because, you see, I have my Thanksgiving failings so fresh in my mind.

Then I am reminded of the little quote in the photo above, which I have shared more than once. I'm going to tuck in to the Lord and listen for His voice and do what He tells me to do. I think I'll be surprised. I always am.

Tonight the outside lights go on. I am celebrating the Christ of Christmas along with my neighbors and community and the world because He deserves celebrating...every day. I will not shut down and hide out because I am chafed by loss or fear; I will celebrate because, for this one brief moment of the year, most hearts are turned once more to Him. He's on people's minds, however far in the background. I will celebrate and keep Christmas as my mother and grandmother and others have done before me in the firm hope that one day we'll all be celebrating in heaven together. I will be a Keeper of Christmas.

Love Vee

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thank You!

So we have reached the final day of November and this year's Giving Thanks Challenge. I want to especially thank all who've visited me via Leah at South Breeze Farm and I also want to thank Leah for hosting this year. It's a labor of love! God has been so good to all of us. It has been a blessing each day to think about those things for which I have been grateful in 2011. Some of you keep a gratitude journal all year through! Amazing!

And it is also for you, my regular reader, for whom I am so very grateful. Whether you join me in the morning with your mug of coffee in hand or later in the afternoon with your tea, I feel blessed and honored to know that you are there. Sometimes you even leave a comment, which still delights me after four plus years of blogging. If you've never commented *cough* *cough* *sputter* *sputter,* I'd sure love to hear from you.  Would you do me a favor today? Would you let me know how long you've been reading along here? (No, I am not going to be adding advertising. That's not why I want to know. = )

For those who have commented through thick and thin nearly every day of this blog's existence, I thank you most especially. You are the faithful and the few and I dearly love you and look forward to our visits. Okay, enough of the mushy stuff because if I don't stop I'm going to need my tissue box and it's lost in all this Christmas stuff.

Suzanne of At Home With the Farmer's Wife recently added a bit to her post on The Emergency Room Scarf. I've been kinda waiting to see what she might say; but she and her crochet hook have gone missing she says that I may have figured it out. Since I like how my scarfs/scarves (???) turned neck warmers turned out, even though they don't look just exactly like Suzanne's, I'm going to show them off. I've really enjoyed working on them in the evenings; therefore, a lot of gals in my family can just count on a neck warmer for Christmas.

Oh I do love that Gradient 6 in PhotoScape. Sigh. See what I mean as I model my white, made from baby yarn, neck warmer.

Sooc at the left and Gradient 6 on the right. At this rate, I may be able to avoid plastic surgery after all.

John is working on the front side of the house, the north side, the main side, the street side, the last side. Yippee!! Thank you, Lord, for all the good weather. Even when we've had two snowstorms with over a foot of snow each time, it's melted off within days. The temps are in the high 50sF today.

There are long gaps without much if any insulation all around the windows and front door. John is taking care of that as I type.

Ongoing progress in the decorating department. I've nearly decided not to get out the ornaments for the tree. Nearly. Maybe. Who knows? Instead, I've been decorating it with everything except the kitchen sink.

Gradient 6...gotta love it! (Yes, that's the grands' teddy bear.)

Feeling a bit topsy-turvy with my new posting schedule. If I do another post right behind this one and save it for tomorrow morning, I might get myself righted around.

A wonderful afternoon and evening to you!

Love Vee

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mittens Lost and Found, Et Cetera

Don't you love cozy mornings by the tree? We do! Just prior to this photo, I had been sipping my coffee and working on the scarf mentioned in yesterday's post. Even Molly and Fioré show up for morning devotions. Molly's not always alert, but she's there listening to John's rumbly voice as he reads Our Daily Bread. Doesn't Fioré look particularly angelic? =)

Everything at our haven is in a state of not quite accomplished. The tree is up and needing more decorating. That tree is what made me brave life and limb on Black Friday. It's a slim, pre-lit tree, which doesn't impress me that much. There aren't enough lights, but the weary among us are quite happy with the status quo. The grands gave John and me a bit of a hard time with our *wee table tree last year.* The former tree is very tired, after nearly 25 years, and so it was time to upgrade. I get the distinct sense that this new tree is not much of an upgrade. It is quite high at 9 feet above the floor, enough to impress the grandsons.

While tidying up the laundry room this morning, I found the box of old mittens. Some pairs and lots of singles. I never could toss all the little ones that my children wore. Some are my nieces' mittens; one pair is Nan's; another pair is mine from college days. They have lots of stories to tell I'm sure. My mother single-handedly kept her grands in mittens, at first knitting them herself and then buying them at church bazaars. She would say that she couldn't do any better and the price was right. 

This morning, I began to think what I might do with them. There are mitten drives these days, of course, though my mitten stash is too near and dear to my heart to let go. I'll purchase a pair of mittens for the drive. Since I was already crocheting, I simply crocheted them onto a chain and strung them in the bay window. It's not done...perhaps some greenery to add. Anyway, you know that I'll show you again when it is done.

Oh, do look and see what has happened to the foot of snow that arrived last Wednesday.

Nearly gone! Those two tracks there on the hill that look like a driveway are the snow trail the kids made last Thursday for their sleds. Crazy weather and we are not complaining.

Just as I was finishing up with the mitten garland, I heard John's tread upon the stairs. Except the footsteps stopped at the door and I heard a knock. When I opened the door, there stood a man with his arms crooked and two wreaths hanging from each. He told me that I was the first to answer the door this morning. He said that his mother was making wreaths to sell so that she could buy her grandchildren Christmas gifts. He explained that the wreaths were very fresh as they had just been tipping Sunday afternoon and his mother had made ten wreaths yesterday.

They were indeed fresh and wonderfully fragrant and I could not have done any better and the price was right so I purchased one to hang upon my door. (It's not "done" either, but I'll show you once it is.)

"Merry Christmas! God bless you!" the man called as he walked back down my drive to his car.

Merry Christmas I called back and to your mother, too.

Have you shared Christmas greetings yet? It doth warm the heart and cheer the soul! 

Love Vee

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 Highlights

Thanksgiving 2011 is already a vague memory. Good thing I take pictures, bad pictures. Bad, bad camera. You may struggle to believe this, but these are the best of the lot.

One thing I discovered very quickly...when I am the one pulling dinner together, there are few photo- taking opportunities. No pretty tablescapes once the sea salt lands on the table. Baby grand earned the red chair and was pretty content to be in the Turkey Seat. Two nights later we changed it to the Santa Seat and the oldest grand enjoyed it equally well. Speaking of oldest grand, he asked if he could do dishes. It's not something that his parents had yet entertained, but I thought it a splendid idea. He did an excellent job of washing pre-washed silverware. Catch them while they're young and while they think it's fun is my motto.

My daughter made the "acorns" and the candy cars you see in the upper right. Apparently, she's becoming a Pinterest fan.

After dinner, four of the most energetic ones went sliding while kitchen clean-up went on in earnest.

Had to punch up the colors with all that snow. They slid from 3 to 4:30. It was very dark by the time they came in eager for hot chocolate and more treats.

Yes, the tree is up; yes, I went Black Friday shopping =/ ; yes, I had a guest stay over one night; yes, I've been busy and so have all of you!

This I know because I've been visiting, even if I haven't been commenting too often.

I'm spending a quiet evening working on the Emergency Room Scarf that Suzanne shared *here.* I don't know what I'll do with my Monday evenings now that Dancing With the Stars has ended. I'm sure that as Christmas nears, it'll all get sorted.

A cozy evening to you!

Love Vee